How to Find a Specialty Running Store

Get properly fitted for the right running shoes

Finding a specialty running store that will properly fit you with the right running shoes is critical to your comfort, running performance, and injury prevention efforts. It's not always easy to find one in your local area, so you may have to travel a little and you may have to pay a little more for the superior customer service. But it's well worth your time, effort, and cost.

Once you're fitted for the right shoe and you're happy with them, you could then order them through the store or online, without having to go through the trouble of doing another shoe fitting/gait analysis. These stores are also called technical running stores. Don't worry, they are meant for every level of runner, from beginners to seasoned marathoners. Here are some tips on how to find a specialty running store:

Look Online

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Do a search for local running store and see what turns up. Try to find stores that cater specifically to runners, not general sporting goods stores. They'll usually have the words, "runner" or "running" in the name of the store, like New York Running Co. Call ahead and ask if they have salespeople who are training to do running gait analyses. Although sporting goods chain stores may have a wide selection of shoes, their staff most likely doesn't have the expertise to determine your running gait or detect any biomechanical issues that should be factored into your choice of running shoes.

You can also check the Fleet Feet Sports website. They have locally-owned specialty running stores all over the U.S., so you can see if they have a location near you.

Runners World offers a store finder page to help you locate specialty running stores in your ares.

Ask Experienced Runners

Someone who's been running for a while will know where to find the closest specialty running store. Ask for one where you can get a gait analysis done in the store. If they offer that service, they'll usually have a treadmill in the store.

Ask Local Running Clubs

Check out running clubs' websites—they often have recommended partners listed. Local running stores often are a sponsor for running clubs' races. You could also email the club organizer to ask for or post on their Facebook page asking for recommendations.

Inquire at Your Fitness Club or Gym

Personal trainers and gym staff most likely will know of specialty running stores in the area. You can also ask the athletic department of local high schools and colleges.

Checking the Running Stores That You Find

When you get a recommendation for a store, you may want to check a little further before paying them a visit. Call the store and ask if they do shoe fittings and gait analysis for runners. Ask if they have an in-store treadmill for this purpose. If the person answering the phone says the store doesn't provide these services, press further and ask if they know of other stores that do. Your feet deserve the best.

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